アラ還のオッサンがマルクスの勉強やらコンサートの感想やらを書き込んでいます

フィナンシャルタイムズ紙の「靖国史観」批判

2005年7月24日 at 14:03:36

靖国神社の「日本の戦争は正義の戦争だった」という特異な歴史観について、ニューヨークタイムズ、USAトゥデーの記事を紹介しましたが、こんどは英紙フィナンシャル・タイムズが、7月19日付で「アジアの騒ぎ――まさに地域経済が統合されるときに、ナショナリズムが高まる」という記事を掲載。そのなかで、靖国神社の特異な戦争観について、次のように書いています。

The Yasukuni museum next to the shrine shamelessly glorifies Japan’s war record and glosses over such “incidents” as the Nanjing massacre, but the mixed and sometimes acerbic responses recorded in the visitors’ books suggest that many Japanese remain unconvinced.

拙訳で概略を紹介すると――

神社に隣接する靖国博物館〔遊就館のこと〕は、恥知らずにも、日本の戦争の記録を美化し、南京大虐殺のような“事件”についてごまかしている。しかし、来館者ブックに記録された、様々なそして時には辛辣な反応は、多くの日本人が依然として納得してないことを示唆している。

フィナンシャルタイムズ紙の記事全体は、日本だけを批判したものではなく、中国や韓国の「ナショナリズム」も問題にしています。そういう立場からのものであっても、靖国神社・遊就館がおこなっている「日本の戦争は正義の戦争だった」という主張は、「恥知らず」なものとしか言いようのないものだと批判されているところに、この記事の妙味があります。

FT.com / Home UK – A stir in Asia: nationalism is on the rise even as the region’s economies intertwine

A stir in Asia: nationalism is on the rise even as the region’s economies intertwine
By Victor Mallet
Published: July 19 2005 03:00 | Last updated: July 19 2005 03:00

Even in peacetime, nationalism in east Asia is not an abstract concept but a matter of flesh and blood. Take Hiroshi Kawahara. So fiercely does he support Japan’s claim to the disputed Takeshima islands, which are controlled by South Korea and known there as the Dokdo, that he recently cut off one of his little fingers to make his point to Roh Moo-hyun, the South Korean president, and Junichiro Koizumi, the Japanese prime minister.

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“I sent one joint by airmail to the presidential office in South Korea and the other to Mr Koizumi,” says Mr Kawahara, who heads a Japanese rightwing pressure group called Doketsusha (“Same Blood Organisation”). He bemoans what he sees as the westernisation of Japan and the loss of national pride since its defeat in the second world war. He yearns for a return to the days when the emperor was regarded as divine.

Passionate nationalism is not new in east Asia. Albert Ho, a Hong Kong legislator, tells how he and other Chinese felt so strongly about the distortion of Asian history in Japanese school textbooks two decades ago that they collected their blood in a vase and used it to paint a calligraphic letter of protest.

The past year, however, has brought a palpable resurgence of nationalist feelings in the region that is beginning to worry politicians and diplomats. “Japan wants to be a ‘normal country’. China is rising. South Korea wants to play a major power role, at least in north-east Asia,” says a Chinese professor and political analyst in Shanghai. “And Japan’s asking for a permanent place on the UN Security Council has ignited dissatisfaction in east Asian countries, especially China and South Korea.”

Relations between Japan and China, the two giants of the region, have become so strained that smaller countries are calling for calm. “Both sides need to moderate nationalist sentiment,” Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s prime minister, said in a recent speech in Tokyo.

In Japan, the world’s second largest economy, many voters say they are fed up with apologising for a war than ended 60 years ago next month. The newly assertive mood – expressed in films and manga comic books as well as in a directive from the Tokyo Board of Education requiring teachers to stand in front of the Rising Sun flag at school ceremonies and sing the imperial national anthem – has worsened Japan’s relations with the rest of Asia. Japan now has active territorial disputes with all its Asian neighbours, including Russia, where Mr Koizumi has raised the temperature by surveying disputed islands from a ship.

Shintaro Ishihara, the powerful governor of Tokyo and Japan’s best-known nationalist abroad, was once seen as a maverick but his views are today almost mainstream. “I haven’t changed a bit,” he says. “I think all the environment and the circumstances surrounding the Japanese people and Japan have changed, and that has made the Japanese change.”

Mr Ishihara’s argument is that the country is under threat from a dangerous North Korean regime and the territorial claims of a rising China and cannot rely on the US for support in a crisis. Japan should therefore stand up for itself diplomatically and militarily. It should rearm and consider calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 if China continues to misbehave.

“In the past I never thought it was necessary for us to have nuclear weapons but if you look at what is happening these days I think the nation would have a demand for them,” he adds.

Mr Ishihara is scornful of Chinese protests over Mr Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates 14 convicted Class A war criminals as well as ordinary Japanese soldiers. “There’s no way for a solution,” he declares. “The best way is for them [the Chinese] to keep their mouths shut.”
In China, a sense of historical grievance against Japan and the west, fuelled by relentless Communist party propaganda over the years, is combined with the ambition and self-confidence generated by China’s rapid economic growth. The mixture is potentially explosive. Only last week, a Chinese general said China might respond with nuclear weapons if it were attacked by the US in any conflict over the disputed island of Taiwan, even if that meant the destruction of hundreds of Chinese and US cities.

In April, thousands of Chinese took part in fiercely nationalistic and sometimes violent street protests against Japan. One of the triggers was the launch of another of Japan’s controversial textbooks, which have become steadily less honest over the years about Japanese military atrocities in the 1930s and 1940s, including the massacre of Chinese civilians in Nanjing.

The Chinese government’s attitude is ambiguous. Beijing is vigorously pursuing its national interests by modernising its armed forces and staking claims to disputed territories, including the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands now under Japanese control. Last November, China was forced to apologise after one of its nuclear-powered submarines was detected in Japanese territorial waters.

Leaders of the Communist party routinely use patriotic rhetoric to shore up their legitimacy. But Beijing knows it is playing with fire and risks being rushed into a foreign confrontation by the very nationalism it has promoted. Worse, the passions unleashed could be turned against the party.

“Ideally, the Chinese government would use patriotism to inspire people to work harder and on track towards the direction the government wants,” says the Shanghai professor, who wants to remain anonymous because of the political sensitivity of his comments. “But nationalism is double-edged. Uncontrollable nationalism would do more harm than good.

“The Chinese government is worried that once you have this nationalism in the street, it will have a boomerang effect. The first three days they will shout against Japan, and on the fourth day it will be against corruption and about the Chinese government.”

In South Korea, public anger has been stirred not only by the Dokdo dispute with Japan but also by recent Chinese suggestions that the ancient kingdom of Koguryo – forerunner of Korea – was a vassal state of China. President Roh is as ready as his Chinese counterparts to use nationalism to boost his fading popularity.

“There’s no doubt that the environment in north-east Asia over the last six months has become much more nationalistic,” says a senior South Korean diplomat in the region. Despite hitherto warm relations with China, he says, “the Koguryo issue was like an alarm call”.

This wave of nationalist sentiment is not confined to the three largest economies in east Asia. Taiwan is torn between competing nationalisms – one that sees the island’s future as part of greater China and the other emphasising Taiwan’s identity as a separate nation. In Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister, has won support by playing the nationalist card. Even in Malaysia and Indonesia, which share a language, nationalism has been fuelled by a territorial dispute over offshore oil reserves near Borneo.

Although the political temperature has yet to reach boiling point, some thinkers are worried that rising nationalism could one day cause serious trouble in the region. “It’s very disturbing,” says Noriko Hama, an economist and professor at Japan’s Doshisha business school. “It’s all becoming very childish, which of course is a dangerous thing.”

One of the puzzling aspects of the nationalist trend in politics is that it comes at a time of exceptionally close economic ties. Japanese and South Korean exporters, for example, have never been as dependent as they are today on the Chinese market, while Chinese factories rely heavily on investment and high-technology components from Japan and South Korea.

Ironically, says Ms Hama, integration may lead to intolerance. The Japanese are waking up to the threat of low-cost competition from China, just as French voters who rejected the European constitution developed a fear of Polish plumbers stealing their jobs following Poland’s accession to the European Union.

For Akihiko Tanaka, a politics professor and director of the Institute of Oriental Culture at Tokyo University, there are at least two reasons for a surge of old-fashioned nationalism comparable to that in Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

First, there are two important nations in the region that feel incomplete. China has yet to regain Taiwan, which enjoys de facto independence, and has threatened to use force to do so. Korea remains divided between the poverty-stricken, Stalinist North and the prosperous, democratic South. “In Asia still I think there’s a quite strong social need for nationalism as a sort of integrator,” says Prof Tanaka.

Second, the end of the cold war has released pent-up nationalist emotions. In the 1980s, Japan and China had a common enemy in the Soviet Union. Now they compete with each other for access to Russian oil and gas. Shigeru Ishiba, a member of the Japanese parliament and former defence minister, who is working to revise his country’s pacifist postwar constitution, points to renewed nationalism in eastern Europe as well as in Asia. “During the cold war there was a clear split . . . there was a balance of power. Now it’s over, there is an imbalance of power. The factors comprising nations – people, ethnic groups, religion and so on – all those became more apparent.”

Prof Tanaka says nationalism in one country feeds it in another. “It’s a chain reaction,” he says. “Chinese anger [with Japan] creates anger in the Japanese – if you like, a vicious cycle of nationalism started to take place.”

Among the reasons for hope is the fact that nationalism, even in particular countries, is far from monolithic. For every Chinese or Japanese demonstrator flinging racist insults, there are others who insist that their motives are cultural or economic. In Japan, some are anti-US, some are anti-Beijing and some are both. “One of the difficulties of the Japanese nationalists today is that they are essentially anti-Chinese as well as anti-US. This ‘double-anti’ position is very difficult to sell to the Japanese public,” says Prof Tanaka.

It is true that nationalism and resentment lie close beneath the surface. Mr Kawahara, now missing one finger, and Hasumi Yoshimoto and Hirotomi IgaÂ?rashi – two other rightist leaders who organise noisy protests in Tokyo from loudspeaker vans – explain variously how they want Japan to adopt nuclear weapons, reject the US-imposed parliamentary system and cut diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Yet many Japanese, including the increasingly strong opposition Democratic Party of Japan, regard these as fringe groups. Even Mr Ishihara is admired more for his management of Tokyo than for his nationalist gestures.

The Yasukuni museum next to the shrine shamelessly glorifies Japan’s war record and glosses over such “incidents” as the Nanjing massacre, but the mixed and sometimes acerbic responses recorded in the visitors’ books suggest that many Japanese remain unconvinced.

Public opinion in China is harder to gauge. But academics in the region hope that tensions can be eased with the help of an official dialogue between countries, possibly facilitated by the US, which remains the ultimate guarantor of security in east Asia.

“There’s no adequate mechanism to manage the triangular relationship between China, Japan and South Korea,” says the Chinese academic. “The US is still playing a very important role.” For commentators in east Asia, this makes it all the more unfortunate that Condoleezza Rice will be the first US secretary of state for two decades not to attend the annual multilateral security meeting that follows the Association of South East Asian Nations summit in Laos this month.

Some are proposing a trilateral dialogue between Japan, China and the US. Others suggest a simple China-

Japan rapprochement to match the Franco-German pairing at the heart of post-war Europe. Either way, there is a feeling that something must be done to stop what Prof Tanaka calls the “vicious cycle of nationalism and counter-nationalism” from undermining east Asian co-operation. As Ms Hama warns: “It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. People really ought to explore the possible darker consequences.”

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